It's a classic American narrative -- the wealthy are threatened with fairness, they lose a tiny sliver of their upper hand, and out come the thugs and goons. In the face of even the most mild policy initiatives to bring balance and fairness to health care and the regulation of the financial industry, the hammer has come down.
When unions fought for safe and fair working conditions, the bosses brought in entire police forces and hired thugs to physically intimidate, injure and kill the workers. This continues to be possible because of two dominant and pervasive themes in American life: The wealthy will protect their profit and power at any cost and there will always be people willing to do their dirty work for short term personal gain.
When, after eight years of the most mean-spirited, dangerous and incompetent leadership in our history, an election brought in a wave of people eager to restore sanity to government, the long knives came out. The vigilantism, racism, hatred and greed evoked by the Tea Party "movement" is a shameful, continuing chapter in our history, but it is by no means new. What is new is that there is a powerful media conglomerate, Rupert Murdoch's NewCorp, and it's flagship Fox News, which creates a willfully dishonest narrative about our country and our values every minute of every day. They feed into the basic human tendency to identify "others" who are responsible for all of our problems. No jobs? It's the damn illegals. Economy tanking? It's free spending liberals. Not a shred of truth is necessary. No reference to the cataclysmic policies of the Bush Administration that destroyed the strongest economic engine in history. Nope, it's just as simple as Obamacare is ruining the country. That's all you need to know.
We might have been able to overcome even the most mendacious and petty instincts of the wealthy and our fellow citizens had it not been for the ironically named "Citizens United" decision of the Supreme Court. The advent of superpacs spending unlimited amounts of anonymous money through front groups was the final nail in the coffin for democracy this time around.
The only thing that can beat Citizens United is united citizens. It is our sacred obligation to spend the next two years working harder, being smarter and educating our communities about what has been lost and what is coming in the New American Thugocracy. The super rich, the small minded, the greedy and the hateful have carried the day. The corporate masters have been served and they will not give up their advantage easily. Our best hope is to expose them for what they are and keep bad things from happening. The President must use every administrative action in his power to keep a positive agenda moving forward in the face of blustering and sputtering by the right.
We need to deliver the goods in 2012 against the dangerous and destructive forces that have weaseled their way back into power. That means no time for grieving. Still, take a moment to reflect on life in 2001-2008. Now think about the damage John Boehner and Eric Cantor can do. Get the picture? Work harder starting now or prepare for a rude awakening in 2012.